soul food (chapter 2 of tao te ching – translated by ursula le guin)

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Everybody on earth knowing
that beauty is beautiful
makes ugliness.
 
Everybody knowing
that goodness is good
makes wickedness.
 
For being and nonbeing
arise together;
hard and easy
complete each other;
long and short
shape each other;
note and voice
make the music together;
before and after
follow each other.
 
That’s why the wise soul
does without doing,
teaches without talking.
The things of this world
exist, they are;
you can’t refuse them.
 
To bear and not to own;
to act and not lay claim;
to do the work and let it go:
for just letting it go
is what makes it stay.
 
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